WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Angela Caudillo said the county had record voter turnout for a primary election on Tuesday.
She said more than 90,000 people voted in person. Combined with early in-person voting and mail-in ballots, turnout is just over 43%. By comparison, Sedgwick County voter turnout in the 2020 presidential primary was 29.59%.
Caudillo expects that to go higher as more mail-in ballots arrive. The ballots will be counted as long as they were postmarked before the end of election day and arrive before the close of business on Friday.
So far, about 1,600 mail-in ballots have arrived and have not been processed yet. She said there are also around 4,500 provisional ballots.
The number of ballots counted so far is 141,937.
Caudillo was asked about voters who experienced delays of up to three hours at polling places. She said that is partly because of the record turnout in Sedgwick County. But she also acknowledged that some poll workers called in sick.
She said they will discuss issues with long lines to see what can be fixed before the November general election.
“I think with every election, there’s something to learn, and I think we’ve definitely learned something this election,” Caudillo said. “We’ll be debriefing and looking at all of the things that went right and all of the things that went wrong. Definitely, voter engagement, voter participation, voter turnout went right. If there’s anything we can do to alleviate long lines, we’ll look at that.”
She was asked why there were fewer polling places than in previous years. She said the County lost a polling place in 2020 due to COVID-19, and they recently lost a church as a polling place.
She said any business or entity could become a polling place, but they must meet specific needs, such as size, costs, and availability. She also said her office will contact school districts to see what schools are available to be used.
There was also an issue at the election site inside the Maize Recreation Center. About 20 minutes before the polls closed, Caudillo said two election workers went outside and told as many as 150 voters who were in line that they had to go to other places to vote, and they only had 20 minutes to get there.
Caudillo said the election workers had no authority to do that. She said the election workers are being dealt with internally. As for the voters, the election office contacted other polling sites and told them to be on the lookout for the Maize voters. They were told to note where the voters came from and have them vote provisionally so their votes will be counted appropriately.